Walther von Seydlitz
To StalingradWalther von Seydlitz: letters from the front and from captivity
428 pages, 12,0 x 19,4
ISBN: 978-3-8353-3190-7 (2018)
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, the private documents of one of the most prominent generals are presented here for the first time.
Walther von Seydlitz was one of the most senior commanders in Stalingrad. However, even before the encirclement of the German forces, he was plagued by doubts concerning offensive Nazi military policies. He turned vehemently against Hitler’s command to stand and fight, arguing for the forces to be allowed to break out of the encirclement. As a prisoner of war, he cooperated with the Red Army and the German communists, with the aim of eliminating Hitler‘s regime of terror and quickly putting an end to a war that had already been lost. For this, he was sentenced to death in absentia by the Reichsgericht.
After 1945, Seydlitz ended his cooperation with the Red Army, upon which the Soviet Union also sentenced him to death as a war criminal; he was subsequently pardoned and given a 25-year prison sentence. In 1955 he finally returned to the Federal Republic of Germany, where he was socially ostracised due to his »betrayal«.
His letters from the front and captivity between 1939 and 1955, published here for the first time, give a unique insight into the course of the Second World War, described with a mixture of private conviction, independent analysis and military insight. They bear witness to an author of straightforward character who, in spite of omnipresent propaganda, retained an independent view of political and military events.
Walther von Seydlitz
(1888 –1976) As an artillery general, von Seydlitz was captured by the Soviets after the Battle of Stalingrad and joined the National Committee for a Free Germany. In 1955, as the last prisoners of war were released, he returned to Germany.
Torsten Diedrich, born in 1956, researcher at the Military History Institute of the GDR, at the Military History Research Office in Potsdam and at the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr.
Jens Ebert, born in 1959, lives in Berlin and works as a freelance publicist. Exhibitions, lectures etc. at the Military Museum in Dresden and the Museum for Communication in Berlin.